JACQUELIEN VAN STEKELENBURG
VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
In the fall of 2011, the occupy movement occupied the headlines for weeks. Photos showed activists, or Occupiers, and their tents on squares in major cities like New York, London, and Amsterdam. What makes this movement so newsworthy? This entry explains what the occupy movement stands for, who the Occupiers are, and what strategies and tactics they use.
From September 17, 2011, activists occupied New York's Manhattan using the name “Occupy Wall Street.” What began as a small group of protesters quickly spread; at first this was only in New York but soon occupy camps were established in other cities, in the United States and worldwide. The Occupiers protest against inequality, the power of the financial sector and large multinationals, and the failure of politics. Although their claims may be vague, many Occupiers seem to agree with the short but powerful message “We are the 99%,” by which they mean that 1 percent of the population possesses 40 percent of the world's wealth, while the remaining 99 percent shares the remaining 60 percent.
The protesters in New York say that they were inspired by the demonstrators on Tahrir Square in Egypt, and protests in Spain, where tens of thousands started to occupy public squares from May 2011 onwards (the M15 movement or the Indignados). Inspiration was also found in Israel, ...